Monday, December 19, 2011

Invisible woman and choice

When I want a real lesson in conscience and the power of nonviolence, I turn to--comics and movies. Excuse me? Yes, Hollywood and comic books are real gold mines, though most of it is pyrite at best.

So, when Earth is under threat of destruction in the film Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and the henchbeing of the Destroyer Galactus (Silver Surfer)  is prepping our planet for His palette, Invisible Woman confronts the space dude:

Silver Surfer: I have no choice.
Invisible Woman: What do you mean, you don't have a choice? There's always a choice.
There it is. We make our choices and we are responsible for them, if not to Galactus, at least to ourselves. While we have a Universal Declaration of Human Rights to help us think about some of our rights and responsibilities, we also have societal pressures to violate what we might suspect is good behavior. Isn't this true for all of us?

  • Oh, I had to join the military. I was poor. I wanted a college education. I had no job. It was the poverty draft. 
  • I had to kill those people, even though some were children. I had orders. In the military, there is a chain of command and harsh discipline for failing to obey a command.
  • I need to drive a car. That's just how it is.
  • Obviously, I had no choice--I had to call the police. How was I to know they would shoot the guy dead?
  • I'm a cop. The guy had a knife. I had to take him out--what other choice was there?
  • He hit me. I had to defend myself. No other option outside of just getting smacked down more.
But choice is always present, even in a dictatorship, even in dire circumstances, and certainly in a society with multiple options for getting an education, for getting work, for surviving and thriving without joining an organization that uses violence, even lethal violence.
Thank you, Invisible Woman. I wish more invisible women would help us confront these choices we attempt to evade or deny.

No comments: